With Australian commercial TV executives in Los Angeles this week for the annual screenings of programs for 2005 US season, Ten’s long expected “hole” in its schedule happened this week. Even though it was one they knew was coming, it will still hurt.

Everybody Loves Raymond, which helps keep Ten competitive on Thursday nights, is no more. It passed into history on Monday night US time, its passing witnessed by 32.9 million viewers. Not bad, but not Friends. Friends‘ last episode last year was watched by 52 million people (M*A*S*H still holds the record with 105 million in 1983).

The Los Angeles screenings coincide with the presentations in New York this week of the 2005 northern hemisphere autumn line-ups from the US networks. NBC, ABC and, last night, CBS, revealed plans for the return of existing or new programs, many of which will die a quick death.

But for Ten, the passing of Raymond will not mean the passing of the series from the Australian TV screen. It’s still in repeat and the current and last series still have a number of episodes to go. But like Nine, which lost Friends and Sex and the City last year, it will leave a hole.